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The Philippine Press and Media

A short presentation on the landscape of the press and the media in the Philippines

CMFR Philippines

on 10 April 2013

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Transcript of The Philippine Press and Media

PRESS and MEDIA The media—print and broadcasting; the Internet—are the vehicles through which information and entertainment are disseminated. The press is the institution engaged in the gathering and processing of information on, and in interpreting, matters of public interest. The legal environment Press freedom is officially the norm. The Philippine press and free expression are protected by Article III Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution. Unlike other countries, the Philippines has no set of laws pertaining only to the press (Press Laws). Laws affecting mass media are in various statutes, many of which are not specifically addressed to the media. There is no Freedom of Information Act in the Philippines. But there is a Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. Although the press is legally autonomous, a number of factors affect the exercise of press freedom, among them: The ownership system The sensitivity to criticism of those in power Advertising and political pressure Corruption and other ethical problems The “culture of impunity,” which encourages the killing of journalists Because of the killing of journalists, the Philippines has been described “the most murderous place in the world” to practice journalism by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (2003) The Ampatuan (Maguindanao) Massacre of November 23, 2009 placed the Philippines at the forefront of the international campaign against impunity. The internal media context Broadsheets vs. Tabloids Free TV vs. Cable TV Television is the most accessible medium of entertainment and information, and consequently is the most credible. Radio has taken a backseat to TV in terms of reach. Print is a poor third. Newspaper circulations are shrinking and so is newspaper credibility. The “national press” consisting of nine broadsheets, tabloids, magazines, and the news services of the two major networks is so-called only because it is based in Manila. Outside Manila is the “community press” of some 500 newspapers, 600 local radio stations, and affiliates of the Manila networks. Philippine media and press are owned and controlled by business and political interests. Only the Big Three broadsheets, a business newspaper, some niche magazines, and some tabloids in Metro Manila are making money. Cutthroat competition characterizes the relationship among media organizations, especially the two major networks (ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. and GMA Network Inc.). Among the results is a focus on news that will sell: e.g., celebrity and crime news. News is often defined by the broadcast networks as anything that will boost ratings rather than in terms of public significance. Advertiser sensibilities are a major factor in what appears in the six o’clock news or in print. Political pressure has also been known to make editors kill or water down stories. Ideological, political, and other biases often affect reporting. Some media personalities make hundreds of thousands, even millions, monthly. But the majority, especially in print, complains of low salaries and poor working conditions. Community newspapers are mostly owned by local entrepreneurs and politicians. Most Manila broadsheets depend on reporters to get the news in Manila, but on correspondents for provincial news. In the communities, some reporters are not paid as journalists but as advertising solicitors. Many write for the Manila broadsheets in addition to working for local politicians, the police and military, the Philippine Information Agency, and broadcasting. Although many practitioners are highly skilled, Philippine media are besieged by professional and ethical problems due to: Poor, inadequate or no training Professional and ethical problems affect the Philippine press’ capacity to deliver the news, and even how it defines news. Low salaries and poor working conditions The “culture of corruption” in the media and in society at large Despite the efforts of media advocacy groups and media organizations, corruption in the media persists. Media corruption during elections means money practically decides the result of elections. Low skills levels and corruption result in incomplete, unfair, biased, and even inaccurate news reports usually lacking in context. Lack of context is a frequent criticism of reporting in the Philippine press. What is being done? Training journalists and media workers, especially in professional standards and ethics; Educating present and future journalists on their critical role in society; Providing coherent continuing education programs; Encouraging journalists to organize for better pay and working conditions; Developing a media literate public willing to defend press freedom and able to demand better media performance. http://www.cmfr-phil.org/flagship-programs/other-programs/special-programs/media-and-public-policy/freedom-of-information/ http://www.cmfr-phil.org/cmfr-on-the-cybercrime-prevention-act-of-2012/ http://cmfr-phil.org/endimpunityinph/ The press replicates the pyramidal structure of Philippine society. Some, however, are owned by large corporations with political links (e.g., the Sun.Star chain, the Cebu Daily News, and Cebu’s Freeman) A presentation by the http://prezi.com/gfkt4qymtwl_/impunity-and-the-free-press/
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